Two Things Our Words Can Do

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With three boys who are only five years apart, a friendly game of putt-putt can quickly get the competitive ( and unfriendly) juices flowing.

We'd only made it to the third hole on the miniature-golf course when one of my boys got a hole in one.  He squealed with excitement!  

But his joy was short-lived with his brother's harsh words -  “That was such an easy hole. You just got lucky.  I'm so much better than you at this game.”

The look on my son's face was one of complete defeat, as I’m pretty sure he was hoping his brother would give him a high-five and say something like, “Way to go!”

Knowing my son was crushed in spirit, I turned to my other son and explained, “You know, buddy, your words have power.”

We need to remember the power of our words. Our words have the power to bring life or bring death. They have the power to build up or tear down.  

And I reminded him of a verse we’d recently memorized as a family, Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV): “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”

I reminded him how this verse teaches us that our words can typically do one of two things.

Our words can build up, or they can tear down.

Our words can breathe life, or they can breathe death into another’s heart.

And I asked him to think about what belief he held in his heart that motivated him to speak harsh words to his brother. 

We sat down on a rock together for a few moments in silence. (I'm learning that less is more.  And I'm learning to stay out of the way of the work God can and will do in my son's heart.)

Eventually I asked him, “Do you want to be a boy who uses words that build other people up in God’s love, or do you want to be a boy who uses words to build yourself up and tear others down?”

“Build up,” he said softly.

When we finished talking about some of the other things he could have said to speak words of life to his little brother, I put my arm around my son and reminded him of the gospel.

“Hey buddy, this is why God gave us Jesus. He knew that you (and I!) would struggle to always speak words of life to one another. He knew we would struggle to love one another with our words and our actions. So Jesus did that perfectly on our behalf. And when God looks at us, He sees the perfection of His Son, Jesus, covering us.  We are free to confess our wrongdoing because we know Christ loves to forgive us. And we know He gives us His Spirit to empower us to love like He has first loved us."

 

Colossians 3:13-14
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

 

My son didn’t need prompting to apologize to his brother after we remembered the gospel. It came freely.  

He found his brother on the fourth hole and said, “I'm really sorry for what I said.  I got jealous that you scored a hole in one before me. Will you forgive me?”

His brother accepted his apology with a big smile on his face.

In that moment, not only was I grateful for how God worked in my son’s heart to lead him to repentance, but I was reminded of something I am often prone to forget - the words I use to discipline and instruct my kids can also do one of two things.

My words can bring life or they can bring death. I can merely point out their sin and wrongdoing, give a quick lecture about how to do it better next time, and leave my kids wallowing in guilt. Or, I can continue the conversation by pointing my kids to Christ who not only loves to forgive them but also gives them His Spirit to empower them to obey, and gives them His grace to set them free from shame. 

Yes, this was another good reminder that while my lectures may garner short-term change in my children’s outward behavior, it is God’s grace alone that will reach and transform their hearts.

Trust me, friend. I miss these precious opportunities often. Which is why I am so very grateful that His Spirit is always working, even when my wisdom is lacking. But it is such a joy when I can witness God's work in my kid's lives, which is why I pray He will continue to open my eyes to moments when I can speak words of GOSPEL life into their hearts.

All is grace,
Jeannie
www.jeanniecunnion.com

jeannie cunnion

Jeannie Cunnion is a Jesus lover and a grace clinger. She is the author of Parenting the Wholehearted Child, and her passion is encouraging moms to live in the very real freedom of God's unwavering love (a message her own heart needs to hear daily!). Jeannie has a Master’s degree in Social Work and she serves on the board of Raising Boys Ministries. She also serves as the Council Co-Chairman at Trinity Church in Greenwich, CT, where she enjoys leading parenting groups and Bible studies when she isn’t cheering on her three boys at one of their sporting events alongside her husband, Mike. Jeannie would love to connect with you on her website at www.jeanniecunnion.com.

The Blanket Fort Solution

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It had been raining for a week and the kids were going a wee bit crazy. Arguments and bickering were on the rise, with mom and dad's patience on the decline.

One particular Sunday afternoon I found myself with two distinct choices:

1. Completely lose my cool, ground the kids to their rooms for the rest of the day even though we'd just barely finished lunch, and spend the rest of the afternoon feeling guilty for losing said cool.

2. Come up with some creative way to counter the problem.

Friends, I'm ashamed to say that most days, I tend to default to option number 1. Oh, I want to be that mom with all the really cool ideas for keeping the peace in our home and our children happy and well rounded, but those moments come few and far between.

However on this particular Sunday, I whispered a desperate prayer that went something like this:

Dear God, please help me not kill my kids.

Suddenly, an idea popped into my head. The main thing our kiddos had been struggling with was being bossy with one another, and throwing fits when things didn't go their own way. From out of nowhere (of course, we know the where....or I should say who) I had the idea for a project.

Long and lazy summer days are upon us and soon our children will have too much time on their hands, and too many technological choices competing for their attention. When grumbling begins, when tensions arise, how can we, as moms, give creative solutions that bring our family together? How can we cultivate a summer of sweet memories? You need the Blanket Fort Solution! And a whole list of other summer time, family building activities that will keep you connected- not to mention, some free music to download and enjoy together! Here's to summer! The fun starts right here!

I called the kids into the room and said that I had a very important project for them to work on. However, if this project was going to work, they had to all work together with no one person being the boss, and they had to listen to one another. Here is the project:

I need the three of you to work together to decide which of your bedrooms to use, and then come up with a plan to build a blanket fort big enough for the three of you to all sleep in tonight.

Friends, their eyes got as big as saucers and grins spread across their faces as they realized that I was, indeed, serious. Mad chaos ensued as they dashed about collecting every available blanket in the house. I surprised them by providing sheets from the closet and even a tablecloth from my special stash.

Of course, they did need some guidance and a little bit of refereeing during the process, but they took a big step towards learning how to work together with others who have differing ideas from theirs, and who might have stronger or quieter personalities to their own.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret, gals: It was really hard for me not to engineer and design the entire fort. I did provide some direction and ideas when they got stuck, but for the most part I sat back and let them work. And you know what? They did!

Summer's coming, friends, and we will soon have some kiddos with too much time on their hands - and for many of us, too many technological options on which to rely. We live in an apartment in the middle of a large European city. There's no green space nearby for us to just send the kids to "go out and play" or "have a water balloon fight." It is up to me to help them see creative options for when tension run high and their own creative juices run low.

Maybe you don't have space enough for a blanket fort, but you do have a million pounds of craft supplies for all those homemade projects you've pinned...but will never do. Give the kids a theme and a time frame and let them create.

Set up a dance party in the kitchen.

Or some water games in the bathroom.

There is for sure a time and place for redirecting, correcting, and disciplining. However, I'm finding most of the time all my kids need are a couple of ideas and permission to create.

If you're like me, you only have these genius ideas maybe once a year. Let's help one another with this, too! Leave some of your out-of-the-blue-curb-the-chaos boredom busters in the comments! Then we can all have a working list of ideas to pull from when our own creative juices are lacking!!

In order to help get the creative juices flowing, I am excited to offer you a FREE song download perfect for a Blanket Fort Dance Party! Simply follow the link, click "buy now" and in the price area enter 0.00. If you like the song, perhaps come back and buy the rest of the Playtime album - it's only $5! There are no affiliate links, but I always love to take the chance to support independent artists!

Love, blessings and dance parties,

Jen

 

Jennifer Deibel

Jennifer is your typical American wife and mother living life, raising kids, and working, only she's doing it in Vienna, Austria - a new adventure after living in Ireland for 4 1/2 years. She has been married to the love of her life, Seth, since 2000 and is extremely blessed to be mom to two delightful girls, and one hilarious little boy. She has a deep interest in creative family worship, marriage enrichment, and the art of figuring out unfamiliar grocery stores in foreign languages. Jennifer passionately loves the Lord, her family, music, dance, writing and chocolate - though quite honestly not always in that order. She believes this world needs more women who stick together, so let's connect and walk this road side by side! You can find Jennifer where she blogs at This Gal's Journey, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Nature Study with Printables!

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Hi sweet moms!

So, summer is coming, and with it, all the ideals of this mama who wants to make this summer the best one yet. I always feel the pressure to give my kids amazing memories of days by the pool, back yard fun, beach combing and an epic vacation. . . you know, nothing major but just all their dreams come true. The thing is though, When I ask my kids what they want to do with the lazy days ahead, they just want the simple stuff. The ice cream cones and firefly catching and lazy days where sometimes dinner is only a pop tart and a run through the sprinklers counts as bath time. They just want a family that is happy to be together. 

In recent years, one way we have added a little structure to care free days and enjoyed the simplicity of the season is with Nature Study.

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The Wife I Want To Be

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Dear Husband,

I want to be her. The woman you deserve. The one who greets you at the door with a smile and a hug and who thanks you for working hard and who offers you a plate of cookies. Who's got supper in the oven and the kids playing nicely and the house clean and tidy. Who asks you about your day, helps you with your coat and listens intently to everything you say. Because you deserve that.

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A Fun Summer Bible Study for Kids (& MOMS!)

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Over two years ago my husband launched an incredible resource for families to teach children the Bible. With literally thousands of children going through The Dig: Luke we are so thrilled to FINALLY announce The Dig: Proverbs

And it couldn't of reached completion at a better time! Summer is the perfect time to grab a new study for your child to dig into the Bible. 

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